Don’t we find life lessons in the oddest of places? I deliberated about writing about the movie/book 50 Shades of Gray for a while now. And in the last few days, the topic of Fear has come up so many times and in various ways, it’s hard to ignore. (Don’t worry this is not a spoiler alert if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie.)
For the point of this blog, here’s the scene; Christian Gray (the male lead) is alone with Anastasia (his current flame) for the first time – blindfolded in his… well, secret room. Anastasia is visibly uncomfortable, not knowing what to expect. As Christian is asking a blindfolded Anastasia why she feels fear, just because she doesn’t know what’s coming next – he drags a leather strap down her arm. You can see the unease and fear come over her, and just as he gets to her hand, he raises the strap and cracks it against her palm. In that instant she jumps and is visibly shocked. Softly, he asks her if it hurt. With a brief hesitation, she smiles and quietly says, “No.” Making the point, he then says, “So, you had nothing to fear after all, did you?”
Ask yourself if this sounds familiar: We start to pursue our dream, which means taking on risk… nay-sayers start showing up, road blocks come out of nowhere, and before we know it, we realize we don’t actually know what is coming next… and fear sets in. This is usually where we find ourselves at a crossroads. Do we continue- potentially against all odds (at least the odds that we have created in our minds)- or do we fold and walk away? It’s what you do in spite of fear that defines you.
Imagine what we avoid in life out of fear, merely for not knowing what is coming next, when we really have no reason to have fear at all. If our fear is the unknown, then what we need to get comfortable with, is not knowing the outcome. If our fear is that the worst case scenario will come true, I think it’s fair to say, what we make up in our mind is almost always far worse than the ultimate reality.
In closing, let me leave you with the value of the blindfold. When you take away one of your senses, the others become more acutely in tune to make up the difference. This means that you are more present and paying more attention. And really isn’t that point of fear…to get our attention; make us more present and cautious to what is happening in the moment? When used as intended- fear is there to serve us, to guide us- not control or define us.
Until we chat again, maybe now is the time to go and get that blindfold. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would thank you.
With Fearless Gratitude,
From the song – Heart of Life – John Mayer